Report on NDEs – Part one
The perception of reality in NDEs
The importance attributed in the pages of this site to the NDEs as reliable testimonies of experiences relating to the Spirit dimension is based above all on the sense of perception of an indubitable reality with which the experimenters declare to have lived their experiences. My advice to anyone interested in learning more about this topic is to read the full reports of around a hundred experiences, choosing them from those listed on the NDE Accounts page of the IANDS (International Association for Near-Death Studies) website, or in the Exceptional Experiences page of nderf.org, site of the Near-Death Experience Research Foundation by Jody & Jeffrey Long. In support of the considerations I advanced in the pages of this blog, I would anyway like to use some examples taken from the above mentioned sites: complying with the requirements of the same sites regarding the possibility of quoting and reporting the material therein contained, with particular reference to the NDE accounts offered by those who have directly experienced them, the literal citations will be limited to short periods, and for each of them the source will be indicated, so that the interested readers, if so they wish, can go and read the full content of the reference NDE. In particular, the NDERF site is surely interesting because each NDE (or similar experience) account is accompanied by a questionnaire, filled in by those who tell their experience, which offers various insights into how the NDE was lived by the conscious Ego of the experiencer, and the effects that it produced on the orientations of the same, once it came back to organic life.
Two of the questionnaire's questions concern the perception of the reality of the experience: 1) «What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened?» - 2) «What do you believe about the reality of your experience at the current time?». Almost all the answers agree that the experience was definitely real. Here are some examples:
«Experience was definitely real. Afterwards, my experience was very strongly and permanently present in my life. I had a very strong homesickness... The experience is coming along like a red string through my life. It is my guideline, my inner rule and my escape rope, my anchor in difficult times. It always straightens me up and lights the way» (nderf: 4945 – Beatrice W).
«Experience was definitely real. It was very, very strong. In fact I felt much more "there" than here for a while... 18 years after, it is still the most powerful and insightful experience that ever happened to me» (nderf: 3620 – Romy).
«Experience was definitely real. And yet my "rational mind" wanted to rationalize it away until the historical facts proved it was real and left me with no doubts» (nderf: 3700 – Michael Joseph).
«Experience was definitely real. It was (and remains) more real than ordinary real-life» (nderf: 3737 – William H).
«Experience was definitely real. I was different, I knew, the knowledge and all the people and what my grandmother and I talked about... It was the best gift that was granted to me. I want to go back» (nderf: 3753 – Wendy G).
«Experience was definitely real. I remembered it immediately and it was too powerful to explain away. What also validated it to me was the doctor's reaction to the entire thing... I've had many surgeries since then and never once have I been waked up during them. I have never doubted the reality of it, not for one minute, I KNOW it was real» (nderf: 3774 – Nichole BD).
«Experience was definitely real. I immediately knew, beyond any doubt, that it was real. Nothing could convince me that it wasn't. You might convince me that my car isn't real, but not that this wasn't real» (nderf: 3853 – Yvonne N).
«Experience was definitely real. I was a kid. It happened. I knew I didn't imagine it, my imagination wasn't that cool» (nderf: 3875 – Rachel E).
«Experience was definitely real. I tried to disprove it while it was happening. The more I tried to disprove it, the stronger it was proven to me» (nderf: 3885 – Scott W).
«Experience was definitely real. It was not a dream, I could tell the difference between a dream and what happened to me that night» (nderf: 4126 – Deborah L).
«Experience was definitely real. In the passing of the following days, it seemed that it was still more real. It's difficult even impossible to explain it with words, because it was much more than real, it was Hyper-real!!!» (nderf: 4193 – Marina P).
«Experience was definitely real. It seems as if that experience was more real than reality is now when I'm alive on earth. It resounded with a truth that defies logic. It seems impossible that I could have imagined anything with such vividness» (nderf: 4294 – Katherine L).
«Experience was definitely real. I can still remember exactly every word, every feeling and every realization. In the following years everything got a much greater sense for me. It's still for me the MOST IMPORTANT EXPERIENCE of my life, and the greatest gift» (nderf: 4331 – Anke E).
«Experience was definitely real. I am certain that I have lived everything that I have recounted. Life has become a school and I want to get good qualifications and go back to the point at which they sent me back» (nderf: 4332 – Graça P).
«Experience was definitely real. It felt 100% real and was extremely traumatic... I cried a lot for a few weeks. I always tell people that it felt more real than anything I've ever experienced» (nderf: 4379 – Aaron M).
«Experience was definitely real. I knew with every fiber of my being that it was real... I can't prove any of it, and don't feel the need to try. I feel at peace with the experience and know that one day, I will leave this place and go back» (nderf: 4515 – Jeff H).
«Experience was definitely real. It's more real than real. This life isn't real in comparison» (nderf: 4558 – Timothy V).
«Experience was definitely real. As soon as I was dropped back into my body and was continuing my trek to the elevator, I knew I had Crossed Over. I knew what I had experienced was as real as the medical experience that was trying to take my life. It would have been impossible for anyone to convince me otherwise. When I share my story it is with confidence and conviction» (nderf: 4601 – Kerry B).
«I got to a point where my consciousness was already making the transition from one realm to the other – being more aware of other realities on other dimensions... As I progressed more and more in my "crossing over", I was aware of being in a whole new realm; however, I never thought myself as being "dead"! In fact, I felt more alive than ever!» (iands: Tuesday, February 5, 2002 - 01:18 pm).
«I quickly scanned my whole being and realized I was different but very much whole and I knew everything I had always known... I just know it to be more real and truthful than anything else in my entire life, and it gives me so much peace now» (iands: Tuesday, February 26, 2002 - 11:31 am).
I could add many more similar statements, but those given here are sufficient to attest that there are some people whose conscious Ego did experience a reality other than that which we normally experience in the course of our organic life. The experiences that their conscious Ego has managed to tune in – we are unable to say with certainty whether through an abnormal brain functioning or some other system of mental activity – have some elements that exert a particular appeal and fascination on the Ego, so much so that it may feel an intense homesickness for that dimension once it returns to organic life: the Ego feels that it belongs to the Spirit dimension, which it considers as its authentic home, where its true essence was conceived.
A different perception of time
Another question in the NDERF questionnaire concerns the perception of time during the experience: «Did time seem to speed up or slow down?». The answer chosen by almost all of those who tell their NDE is: «Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning». Here are some further observations of the NDErs regarding the differences noted and remembered about the perception of time.
«It seemed all the events of my life were happening at once. Yet, when I was watching them, it felt like I was "outside time". The concept of time was very different from what I had experienced in my life» (nderf: 3620 – Romy).
«As I said above, it seemed like months and yet like minutes while in real life I was in a deep coma for over a week in the Earthly world» (nderf: 3700 – Michael Joseph).
«My body was dead for two minutes but for me, the time passed as if it were many years» (nderf: 3737 – William H).
«Time has no meaning there, all is one, a thought and you are there: it is so difficult to explain to someone who has not had the same experience» (nderf: 3753 – Wendy G).
«I felt like it was all endless without beginning or end. Time seemed insignificant or nonexistent» (nderf: 3774 – Nichole BD).
«Time is now redefined for me. I know exactly what it is supposed to mean. I know what it meant before the experience. Time changed during the experience and never went back to normal. Time lost and still has no meaning to me. I am able to tick out and count down seconds. I am able to feel the crunch of time. It still drags on when I am bored. But, I understand the quote, "G*d invented time so all things don't happen at once"» (nderf: 3875 – Rachel E).
«At the same time that I was able to see them try to resuscitate me, I could see my daughter was in bed, I saw my parents I saw people having fun, children, animals, and everything that happened. None of it confused me. On the contrary everything was harmonious and amazing. Everything made a lot of sense» (nderf: 3891 – Ana Cecilia G).
«On one hand, it seemed like everything happened so fast, and, on the other hand, it seemed that time stood still» (nderf: 4107 – Sharon M).
«I think this was very interesting for me. How the vector of time goes differently in there. How easy it is to verify by yourself Einstein Theory of relativity» (nderf: 4165 – Celso).
«Although the NDE only could have lasted for some seconds in this world, for me it was as if I had been thousands of years over there, because of the several experiences and the sensation of always having been there» (nderf: 4193 – Marina P).
«There didn't seem to be the concept of time in this forever-land. Although it seemed like things moved, which doesn't make sense to Newtonian physics or to Einstein's postulates, this place was a magnificent creation... It seems like when we create beauty on earth, it is being manifest in heaven. When we sing on earth, it is amplified to the golden ratio in heaven where it becomes like manna, although in this place there is no hunger or thirst. There is just truth and satisfaction» (nderf: 4288 – Heather V).
«Time wasn't experienced at all the way it's experienced on earth. It was only linear if I wanted it to be linear. Otherwise, it was nonexistent or everything was "now". Very hard to describe this concept» (nderf: 4294 – Katherine L).
«There was no time as we know it» (nderf: 4426 – Doug F).
«A moment in that realm seemed like an eternity compared to where I had been in the river while drowning» (nderf: 4489 – Laurie L).
«Time, the way we know it, ceased to exist. I found myself outside of time» (nderf: 4500 – Stefania S).
«After I was in the light, time simply did not have any meaning as it did not exist. A lot of things happened but this was a place outside our understanding of time» (nderf: 4515 – Jeff H).
«I had conversations with my Grandparents that I've waited my whole life to have. They expressed sorrow, they expressed joy, happiness, pride, and love. They entertained me. They showed humor. I learned so much during our interaction. I experienced myself in a spiritual form. I was in the presence of God. I felt an unearthly love. I was able to ask him a question that nearly wrecked my childhood. He responded with an expression of love that could only come from the Creator. All of this happened in 3 minutes» (nderf: 4601 – Kerry B).
«There is no time; it no longer exists because it never existed. We can understand this notion of the non-existence of time, only a non-physical state. It seems impossible to describe it on Earth» (nderf: 4740 – Sarah B).
«Time was not in the same dimension as here on earth; there is no before or after. Everything seems suspended, like "Time out of time..."» (nderf: 4830 – Estelle D).
«Everything seemed to happen simultaneously, in the sense that it was multidimensional rather than linear. It seems to have some chronology to it, given the fact that I experienced the option of a choice. But it is more complex that the earthly order of past, present, and future. Everything was intertwined» (nderf: 4858 – Anelia G).
«When I was asked "Do you want to stay or go", I had all the time in the world. I didn't have a thought to my dead body lying in that hospital bed. I didn't worry about how long I was taking, I had no one banging on the door or saying HURRY UP! I could take years if I wanted. During that time, I was enjoying the scenery. The animals, the grass. Everything had a life force. I felt no pressure whatsoever to make my choice. There was no clock» (nderf: 4926 – Anne L).
«So as I watched again, my life was progressed into the future. Not just once, but a multitude of times. And, all at the same time. It's hard to imagine now, but somehow I was shown MANY MANY different futures all at the same time. I was shown YEARS ahead, to the end of my life and beyond» (iands: Wednesday, January 23, 2002 - 11:00 am).
«Please excuse me if this doesn't fit into a tidy chronological order, as there is no such thing as linear time on the Other Side. Everything is always experienced in the now, including past and future» (iands: Tuesday, February 5, 2002 - 01:18 pm).
«In this state I felt no sense of time. Time did not exist. According to my coach I was out for about 20 minutes. I felt that (what I experienced) in that 20 minutes, that it was 1000 years» (iands: Monday, February 25, 2002 - 01:58 pm).
«I just remained there with a sense of hovering for what felt like forever. It was really only for seconds or minutes I suppose but time did not make any sense. Time did not seem to apply. It seemed irrelevant. It was unattached to anything, the way I was. Time is only relevant when it is relative to the normal orderly sequential aspects of life. So I was there for a moment or for eternity. I cannot say but it felt like a very long time to me» (near-death.com: Grace Hatmaker).
I think these examples are sufficient to highlight how the perception of time in the Spirit dimension is substantially different from what we experience in the course of our organic life. The perception of time is of particular matter for scientific knowledge, in which the orderly and unidirectional flow of time constitutes one of the cornerstones of the cause and effect relationship. Those who think they can reasonably explain complex phenomena such as NDEs, attributing them to an abnormal brain functioning in critical conditions, should be able to tell us how an instrument that is credited with the ability to reliably represent a real phenomenon (such as the flowing of time in our dimension) would then be able to alter the biochemical system under which it physically functions, to produce completely different interpretative results. From the above examples, it is evident how the perception of experiences that go beyond the normal flow of time – up to merging into a feeling of eternity in which time, as we experience it in this life, loses any meaning – makes at all irrelevant to the conscious Ego, whether or not such experiences are produced by the functioning of the physical brain, while their value as manifestations of the Mind's creativity is indisputable. Furthermore, the descriptions offered to us by the NDErs regarding the (often sudden) return to organic life and the restoration of normal brain activity, would possibly lead us to attributing to the brain a functional bipolarity – with two completely distinct and separate areas of activity – of which so far no anatomical or physiological evidence has been found.
The Spirit's energy is perceived as light and love
In many of the NDE accounts there is a substantial accordance regarding the perception of the energy radiated by the Spirit, once the conscious Ego did manage to tune into it. Regardless of the attribution of the source of this energy to one or another personalized entity (sometimes referred to as a divine figure), the fundamental features with which this spiritual energy manifests itself are light and an unconditional and infinite love, to describe which the NDErs almost always declare not to find adequate words and expressions.
«Then there was a pin-prick of light. All of a sudden, I was in a realm that had the whitest clouds and big marble buildings. There were people scurrying around there. The light was everywhere and everything was light. Light could be seen in the tiniest of detail. It was beautiful» (nderf: 5017 – Jessica Kay).
«There are no words in the English language to describe where I was. I was in the middle of the Glory. Then the Lord wrapped me in His Love and held me to His breast. I was filled to every fiber of my being with His peace that passes all understanding. I felt the love He had for me. Oh my God! I never knew he loved me so much! Wrapped in that love, wrapped in the arms of my Father, I surrendered my will, my self, and everything that I was, completely and without hesitation. I was in the arms of my Father and all I wanted was to stay there forever» (nderf: 4881 – Star E).
«After digesting this wisdom deeply within, then suddenly I became ENGULFED and EMBRACED by this LOVING GOLDEN LIGHT. This loving light, totally surrounded me; completely engulfing and embracing me; as a mother would wrap her arms around a baby. I was IMMERSED in this LOVE circling my body round and round. This love held me in a very indescribable, incredible, intimate, loving embrace» (nderf: 4866 – Anne W).
«Up above me, I saw this beautiful warm, gentle, yet bright white light. The light had depth to it as it was brightest in the center but there was also a spectrum of very beautiful and gentle colors. It was somewhat similar to the sun. But our eyes see the sun as a white, flat circle that is painful to look at. This light did not look flat, nor did it hurt my eyes to look at it... I felt super-calm and loved. It wasn't like the love between humans which involves various different emotions. This love was unconditional and serene» (nderf: 4858 – Anelia G).
«In this Presence, I simply stood there. I felt love everywhere. It was thick and heavy and it had a literal physical presence. This Presence was exquisite and magnificent. I also felt its gratitude for all of humanity and for all who must suffer in this place. It had weight, presence, and form. It is one thing I have never heard spoken of; that God is grateful to us and for us and for all that we are and do» (nderf: 4838 – Sandi T).
«I saw an immense light. I moved toward the light, feeling intense Happiness and a fullness and peace I had never known. I felt my soul expand such the it felt like it encompassed the whole universe. It was wonderful as I was bathed in universal love... At that moment, I never wanted to go back or to leave this Happiness. Then a magnificent lady, who was dressed in a luminous, white dress, was standing in front of this great halo of light. I was sucked into this light» (nderf: 4830 – Estelle D).
«I truly knew that this was home. The bright light filled everything and was totally god's love - unconditional and filled with such joy and peace!» (nderf: 4800 – Melinda G).
«We are in a large meadow and the expanse before me is vast. Far ahead of us are trees, vibrant, healthy, green trees, but not deep, dark forest green as on earth. The colors in Heaven do not exist on earth and hence I cannot assign them a name. The colors are brighter and happier and rapturous to my eyes. Above us it's cloudless. Clear. It reminds me of a tropical day in the Caribbean, except there is no heat to drain my energy. There is no wind either. The temperature is ideal. Everything in this unimaginable, indescribable place is perfect!» (nderf: 4765 – Susan H).
«At the end of the tunnel, I found myself in a totally white place made of light. Nothing there was material, only the immense, white light. There was no end or beginning. It was like being inside an infinite sea of light, with gentle pink waves. The light was not blinding and it was so beautiful. And above all, it was so warm. This white place was full of love, sweetness, warmth and peace. But I felt Love at its highest when three immense columns of light came in front of me. These columns of light were esoteric beings. I have never felt a love such as this one. The love that they have for me and that I have for them, is indescribable» (nderf: 4740 – Sarah B).
«The next thing I saw was a bright loving light. It looked like a million light bulbs close together, forming one huge, loving light. I went towards it and was pulled through to a place where I remember feeling peace and love beyond measure. I was then welcomed by so many people I knew and loved! Some were people I knew only in heaven before coming to earth. The love and happiness was so strong!» (nderf: 4699 – Ashley M).
«I found myself in the middle of a light of an inconceivable intensity. Compared with this light, the sun when looking it in the face looks like a weak electrical light bulb. This light was of a total transparency, to the point that normal light seemed dense and compact in comparison. Because of my feeling I knew without the smallest doubt that this light was God (while I was an atheist...) in the same way as you don't doubt the existence of the sun when you receive its beams. I couldn't reason intellectually anymore, I only sensed things. This light was loving me with unconditional love and it wasn't judging me» (nderf: 4695 – Frédéric R).
«It was every incredible feeling that I will never be able to describe. It was immediate peace. Absolute, whole peace all throughout me. There was no pain, there was no fear, there was no shame. I felt completely accepted. Totally whole and loved. Loved beyond comprehension. Loved in my entirety. Loved with a Love I have not felt here. Loved with the purest love there can be. I felt I was "home". I felt I knew this place/space/being. It was light. It filled every space of my 360d vision. It had no form that I can recall, which for a long time left me with other questions but it was beautiful, and not blinding in the slightest» (nderf: 4661 – Rachel F).
«Yet, I was instantly in this place of golden light and pure love. I was standing in this area of light without boundaries. The love was incredible! I saw a group of people made of light... One of person was a beautiful woman with auburn hair. She was dressed in a white robe and radiated light from her being. She was powerful, in-charge but full of love. The love surrounded us and it was in us. We were all connected in the love light» (nderf: 4558 – Timothy V).
«The light got closer and more intense. I felt a Love that brings tears to me as I write this... The light was love and understanding. It was outside of me, through me, and in me. It was home. I've never felt a love like this since» (nderf: 4515 – Jeff H).
«At first, it was the Light, a brilliant, white light, without reflection and without glare. Then, the feeling... of quiet jubilation, of peace and incredible serenity enveloping me. It was not ecstasy or any feeling I could identify, except perhaps glory in the warmest most positive sense of the word» (nderf: 4473 – Dr. Robert Cole).
«Then I shifted into the fifth dimension, where everything was illuminated and golden. Later, I heard this was what the Tibetans call "The Land of The Golden Light." Everything was absolute perfection» (nderf: 4426 – Doug F).
«I looked at the light towards which we were heading. It was so powerful as the sun but its light did not hurt. I looked at it directly but did not feel discomfort. The same happened when we passed by any star. None of these lights hurt. The colors were so beautiful and different from the ones I know» (nderf: 4332 – Graça P).
«There was a beautiful light that lit up the sky. The light was as brilliant as the sun. Yet, there was no sun in the sky and the Light illuminated everything, giving off a beautiful golden glow. I knew that the light came from the heart of God» (nderf: 4315 – Sharon M).
«I went to a very pleasant place that was made from light. I felt that this is my true home and I belonged there. My presence on earth looked like a deportation to a stranger, an isolated island that was incompatible and unpleasant. Where I was now, there was no past or future, no close or far, no up or down, no dark or light and all the relative things had lost their meaning. Everything seemed to be in absolute perfection» (nderf: 3991 – Mohammad Z).
«I remember thinking that the light was so bright it may hurt my eyes, so I closed them real tight and braced myself for what I thought would be an impact when I ran into it. Instead there was none. It was like floating through a thin vale, and bathed in white light. Before I could even open my eyes, I felt this place. I've searched my whole life for words to describe the amount of love and serenity there, and none exist» (iands: Tuesday, February 26, 2002 - 11:31 am).
«In the far distance on my right was a soft-white globe of light that I felt drawn toward. When I got nearer the light it was all encompassing, but it wasn't white. It was molecular light made of fantastic colours. It was moving in ever-changing geometric patterns. I realized that this light is what everything is made of. The light had a consciousness, which was both masculine and feminine» (iands: Thursday, May 9, 2002 - 11:02 pm).
«Then there was a warm surrounding light. It became brighter and brighter. There were hundreds of beings -- souls -- around me, and I felt the total complete love and acceptance. Such an overwhelming love, that I could never explain with words. I was part of them, I was loved, and accepted, and wanted, and at home» (iands: Thursday, December 26, 2002 - 09:44 pm).
«I was being pulled into a white Light. I wanted to get there as quickly as possible, because all of these wonderful, ecstatic, feelings emanating from this Light. UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, FORGIVENESS, EMPATHY, COMPLETE ACCEPTANCE OF ME, DEEP UNDERSTANDING. I rushed faster and faster to reach that Light» (iands: Tuesday, October 26, 2004 - 10:54 am).
«I was in a beautiful place. In everyday terms it was like a radiant, joyous landscape, on a summer afternoon, but it was so much more – inexpressibly beautiful, serene, and delightful, with the most wonderful light pervading everything... Then a Being of pure light appeared in the distance, and I watched as it moved slowly among us. As it came closer, I remember thinking that I would not have been able to look at it with my eyes. It was such an intense, beautiful white light. A hundred times, a thousand times brighter than the sun. I was drawn irresistibly towards this being» (iands: Tuesday, October 26, 2004 - 11:07 am).
This is just a very small selection of examples of the perception of the Spirit energy as light and love. As can be seen, many NDErs agree that the words at our disposal are totally inadequate to express and communicate what they have experienced and felt. Obviously, there are many other NDEs in which the Spirit energy is experienced in a different form, and perhaps not as intensely. Given that today we have a consistent number of NDE accounts, it is important for us to read as many of them as possible, in order to be able to evaluate the concordances and discrepancies, the elements common to a lot of them and those that only occur in some cases. In any case, there is considerable agreement – let's say in at least 50% of the NDE accounts we have – regarding the feeling of ineffable happiness experienced by the conscious Ego of the NDErs in the Spirit dimension, and the perception of that dimension as a return of the Ego to its original home. Therefore, even if from our human point of view there are no assumptions to be able to consider the reality of these experiences as objective, the concordances we find offer support to the hypothesis that the Spirit dimension has its own effective reality, on which the conscious Ego can tune in if it has the proper device. Furthermore, it should be borne in mind that many of those who have experienced an NDE are sure that the Ego of each of us, once the experience of human life is over, will be able to directly access the Spirit dimension.
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